There is no reference to Veronica in any of the four gospels. A very old tradition, dating back to the fourth century A.D. tells us that Veronica was among the furious crowd watching Jesus struggle with the weight of his cross on his way to Golgotha. She risked the anger and violence of the crowd when she stepped forward and knelt in front of Jesus. His face was covered with blood, sweat and mud. Veronica gently wiped his face clean. In the detail from The Carrying of the Cross, on the right, the artist has portrayed Veronica as a very young girl with a braid down her back.
When Veronica returned to her home and opened the veil, she discovered that the face of Jesus was imprinted on it. The veil became a great relic, with miraculous healing powers. ‘Veronica’ means ‘true image’ vera icon in Latin. The story of Veronica is a lesson about selfless compassion. She obeyed God’s law, not Rome’s.